In recent years, miniature painting has become a popular hobby. Additionally, there has been an explosion of new miniature paints on the market. Whether you make your own clay models or need to bring some life to your Dungeons & Dragons game, it can be challenging to decide which ones are best for your project.
So, to make the process easier for you, we have covered some of the best paints that stand out from the crowd. Moreover, you will also find a buyer’s guide, which will help you make an informed decision. So, let’s get started!
What are the best paints for miniatures? The best paints for miniature projects give you the highest gloss, coverage, durability, and sheen while still being easy to apply. They will also be thin enough to layer without creating a thick coat.
In this guide, we’ll explain what to look for when searching for the best paint for your miniatures and introduce you to our favorite products on the market.
How to Choose the Best Miniature Paints?
Paints are used to create a finish on the surface of your miniatures. Although they can be challenging to apply, there is no denying that they make a dramatic impact. Well, these are just a few attributes that affect both the final appearance and application of the paint. Read along to know the others.
Types of Paints
Paints are classified as either acrylic or oil-based. The major difference between the two is that acrylics dry faster than oils. However, they need to be sealed with varnish, and therefore do not have a matte finish.
On the other hand, oil paint needs time and some care to achieve the desired effect before it can fully dry. If we talk about the price, oil-based paints are more expensive. It is because they require special equipment for the sealing process. But acrylics are comparatively cheap.
Acrylics can be used on surfaces like wood, glass, and even metal when it comes to application. It is somewhat similar to oil-based paint, which can be used on wood, metal, and even some plastics.
Paint Form and Application
Painting your miniatures is no easy task. However, there are several ways to do it, and you can even use paint markers if that’s what floats your boat!
Most people are familiar with liquid paint since it is one of the most common forms. Plus, it’s easy to find at any craft store! It can be used with a wide variety of additives that help change its consistency and transparency; it all depends on what you need your project to look like.
Talking about paint markers and spray paints, they are much thinner and have a fine texture. This makes them ideal for details.
Thinner paints prevent thick layers that can alter the shape of your miniatures or cause you to lose the finer details in the molding. However, they’re not as durable because the paint can more easily be rubbed off.
And, if you’re making miniatures for Dungeons & Dragons or another tabletop roleplay game, for example, you may want to opt for more durable paints and finishes so they won’t be chipped while being moved around and packed together.
In terms of application, you have to consider what kind of surface you want the paint on. For example, liquid paint is easier to use on metal or glass, but it can’t be applied easily on plastic.
On the other hand, spray paints are perfect for large surfaces. They come out in a steady stream and don’t require any special tools like an airbrush. Likewise, paint markers are suitable for surfaces that are only a few millimeters thick, such as plastic miniatures.
When it comes to painting and art, there are a lot of colors that go into the process. However, one factor is considered more than others – opacity! Opacity refers to how transparent or opaque paint is when applied over another surface.
When buying miniature paint, look out for its transparency rating and make sure it works best depending on the desired effect. Opaque paints are great for a base color, while more transparent colors or washes add seamless dimension, shading, and subtle gradients or other details.
Paint Body and Viscosity
The body and consistency of paint can affect the application. A thin or bodiless paint works well in an airbrush system and for a watercolor-style effect. On the other hand, more pigment means that it will be less likely to splatter onto unintended surfaces as long as they are dry.
Heavy body paints are great when you are looking for a textured or raised appearance. While additives can make the paint more fluid, they may also alter the opacity.
The better quality paints will have a lightfast rating. This determines how susceptible they are to fading or shift due to exposure from outside sources such as sunlight and artificial lighting.
So, while looking for miniature paints for your project, consider their lightfast ratings. The higher the lightfastness rating, the better.
One of the most frustrating parts about painting is how colors change as they dry. Acrylic paint dries darker than it appears. If you use an artist-quality acrylic, then any color shift will be imperceptible.
Reviews 9 Best Paint For Miniatures
|1.||The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit||39 paints, for beginners and professionals|
|2.||Citadel Choose-Your-Own Paint Set||Custom 5-paint bundle, luxury acrylic|
|3.||Acylicos Vallejo Acrylic Colors||16 colors, acrylic, airbrush-compatible|
|4.||Reaper Miniatures Paint Box Set||11 paints, 2 brushes, 3 miniatures, for beginners|
|5.||Vallejo Game Color Washes||8 washes for shading,|
|6.||Testors Enamel Paint Set||Oil-based, 9 colors, airbrush-compatible|
|7.||Reaper Miniatures Washes||3 washes, smooth, airbrush-compatible|
|8.||PYVHPU Acrylic Paint Set||24 colors, bright, non-toxic, oil-based|
|9.||Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint||6 colors, crack-resistant|
1. The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit
The Army Painter Miniature Painting Kit includes a detail brush for those extra hard-to-reach spots. It also comes with 39 non-toxic acrylic paints, 5 metallics, 4 quick shade washes, and 2 effect paints.
For the art novice, don’t worry. You can stick to primary colors and gradually work your way up as you get more acquainted with painting.
The painting set contains 18ml of color and will make your painting experience a lot smoother.
The droppers on this set are absolutely perfect. So, you can take care of the paint without wasting too much or spilling it everywhere. It is easy to store and transport, plus you get a great deal when buying in bulk.
- This paint has a high-quality texture.
- Several color options.
- The colors range from primary, secondary, and metallic.
- Great for both beginners and professionals.
- You will have to shake the paint before every use.
2. Citadel Choose-Your-Own Paint Set
Citadel is a luxury acrylic paint brand that produces some of the best Warhammer miniature painting sets. These paints produce beautiful results with minimal effort.
In terms of sheer versatility, color selection, and drying time, the quality of Citadel’s base colors is unparalleled.
Hardly any other company can come close to them. So, if you’re new to painting models, this will definitely get you going!
The Warhammer miniature paint set is perfect for those who like to take their work seriously. You will be able to choose 5 colors from a hand-picked list as a custom bundle.
With colors like Leadbelcher, Macragge Blue, Waaagh! Flesh, Bugmans Glow, Zandri Dust Averland Sunset, Balthasar Gold, and Ceramite White, you’ll be able to create any mood with ease. This customizable set also lets you replace any color not listed in the options if you’d like if you contact them directly!
- Completely customizable
- Premium luxury paints
- With Citadel, you have an option to build your own paint set.
- Great for any kind of painting.
- This set is for those who are serious about their painting and may not be the best investment for beginners.
3. Acylicos Vallejo Acrylic Colors
Vallejo is a well-known miniature paint brand. This one right here offers 16 colors for artists to choose from.
The pigmented and specialized formula allows Vallejo paints to adhere easily to any surface.
Not only does it give you all the versatility you need, but it also leads towards an individualized project where everything matches and looks cohesive.
The Vallejo paint works well in airbrush systems, which means you don’t need to buy a separate container of the acrylic thinning medium. They have colors that are trusted among scale model builders.
- This set is acrylic-based.
- The color selection is highly opaque.
- It works wonders on every type of surface.
- Not every paint’s texture is consistent.
- You may notice a few whites getting clumpy due to the pigments used.
4. Reaper Miniatures Paint Box Set
It’s easy to be a master artist when you have the Reaper Miniatures Paint Box Set!
This has made it to this list mainly because it comes with a cool carrying case. Additionally, it also includes 2 paint brushes and 11 bottles of paints.
This incredible set includes all the parts to assemble 3 of your own miniatures. It’s easy and fun, but make sure you read through instructions before assembling.
Become the next award-winning painter with the easy-to-follow guide by Rhonda Bender!
- It comes with a carrying case.
- Comes with 2 paintbrushes.
- You get to experiment with three different miniatures.
- It includes an instructional guide.
- This set is meant for beginners just starting out and isn’t the best investment for seasoned and serious miniature painters.
5. Vallejo Game Color Washes
The Vallejo Game Color Washes truly stand out from the crowd. These washes are available in a variety of colors. and are great for creating dimension and shading.
These can be mixed together to get different hues whenever required. While the consistency is quite thick for washes, you can also add water to balance it.
These washes are great for people who are new to miniature painting. However, experts can also make the most of them.
You will have to drop the paint onto a model and then use a small brush to drag it into the right places to create the desired effect. Ideal for spacecraft and war-themed models, every modeler should own this kit.
- Includes 8 colors
- Includes eyedropper
- Good coverage
- Able to be thinned using water
- The paint may be sticky to the touch.
- You will have to shake each bottle vigorously since the texture is inconsistent.
- A bit thick for washes but able to be thinned
6. Testors Enamel Paint Set
Some people love water-based paints because they are environmentally friendly. However, some find oil-based enamel paints to be more durable.
These types of coats aren’t for everyone. But if you’re looking specifically for a quality oil-based coat, there aren’t many options besides the one from Testors.
Additionally, the Testors enamel paint is great for airbrushing. These produce smooth, even coverage and an opaque finish.
While you can experiment with different paints for the best result, look no further than this product. One use could be to create a vibrant finish that dries evenly. The slow drying also makes thinning easy without compromising your work.
- Can easily be used on any surface
- Vibrant and opaque texture
- Easy to use and flows smoothly
- The paint takes longer to dry.
7. Reaper Miniatures Washes
This triad by the Reaper Miniature will be a perfect addition to your miniature painting collection.
The pack includes three ½ ounce bottles, which make shading and highlight a miniature figure easy-peasy. You can even mix the colors and give your art piece a unique touch.
It is great for thin paint applications, including washes and layering. The consistency is a bit thick, so you may have to thin it with water. Furthermore, this feature also allows you to create minor details with minimal effort.
The moment the paint dries, you will notice a matte look. It is also airbrush-friendly, so you can count your minis in for an even finish! Another thing that sets the triad apart is the dropper bottle. This makes it easy to access the paint without making a mess.
- Excellent for figure painting
- You can use water to thin the paint
- Enhanced flow property makes it easy to paint even the tiniest details
- Dries out quickly
- May need to be thinned with water
8. PYVHPU Acrylic Paint Set
The Acrylic Paint Set by PYVHPU consists of 24 bright colors. This makes it easy to experiment, especially if you are a newbie.
These rich pigments give full coverage to many different surfaces. The best part about the colors in this kit is that they appear bright, even on a dull fabric. You can layer, blend, and mix different hues to produce a new color altogether.
With a non-toxic certification, anyone can use these oil-based paints. Additionally, these dry quickly, no matter if you use them on canvas, wood, leather, or action figures.
- Colors won’t fade over time
- Non-toxic and can be used by kids
- Bright and pigmented
- You may find the color getting thick or drying if not stored properly.
9. Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
The Liquitex Professional Soft Body paint is an excellent option for miniatures and models. This affordable yet artist-grade, quality paint can be used in different ways to create your masterpiece.
From painting the base coat on solid colors to adding small details, there are so many options when it comes to this soft body acrylic. Trust us; you’ll never run out of ideas!
These offer a mixable variety of 6 colors to work with, so you can experiment more freely without hesitation.
- Paint is highly flexible
- Water-resistant when dry
- High viscosity that gives a rich, smooth finish
- Finish is crack-resistant
- Paint works fine on different surfaces
- The quality of the brush isn’t quite as good as the paints